21 Quick & Easy Meals for Busy Families

Welcome to the Weekly Meal Planner! Whether you work all day and are out of steam when the dinner hour hits, or are fresh out of ideas and in a cooking rut, we are here to make your life easier. 

The month of June is a busy time of year packed with celebrations like graduations, weddings and Father’s Day, so this week we are featuring simple meals that come together in no time.

Make-ahead dishes and tasty sammies let you get dinner on the table in a hurry. Plus, we’ve also got easy soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch – all perfect for brown bagging or eating at home.

Don’t know what to cook? Need help with a recipe? Feel free to ask us in the comments, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Meatless Monday

Lunch: Cheesy croutons top a healthy veggie soup in this satisfying Zucchini and Fennel Soup with Garlic Croutons.

Dinner: Celebrate Meatless Monday Mexican style with Grilled Green Chili Quesadillas. Cook’s Note: You can use the peppers of your choice depending on your spice tolerance. 

Snack: Kids will love these healthy and fun Crunchy Monkey Peanut Butter-Banana Sticks. They’re great for breakfast too!


Lunch: Make your favorite deli sandwich at home with these Italian Hoagies.

Dinner: Whip up a batch of this tasty Chicken Posole with Crispy Tortilla Strips over the weekend and reheat for an easy weeknight dinner. Olé!

Dessert: Mixed Fruit Pavlova is a wonderful way to enjoy the first fresh berries of summer. 


Lunch: Spinach and Arugula Salad with Orange is a special salad packed with nutrition. If you’re brown bagging, just pack the vinaigrette separately, dress and toss when you’re ready for lunch. 

Dinner: It’s sandwich night! Serve the family some cheesy Grilled Rosemary Chicken Melts for an all-in-one crowd-pleasing meal.

Snack: Smoked Eggplant Hummus is a savory, smoky dip best served with fresh veggies and pita chips.


Lunch: Chopped veggies – hold the lettuce – are featured in this Quick Salad. Add some turkey or tuna for a complete lunch.

Dinner: Garlic-Rosemary Chicken with Wilted Lemon Escarole is a healthy, low-carb dinner featuring garlic, lemon and wilted greens. Delish!

Snack: Sausage, broccoli rabe, garlic and three cheeses are stuffed in a fresh loaf of Italian bread in Pat’s Stromboli Bread.


Lunch: Italian Pasta Salad with Sausage is a tasty at-home or brown bag lunch. Use the sausage of your choice to make this dish your own. 

Dinner: Buffalo wing-inspired turkey burgers are on the menu for a fun Friday dinner: Buffalo Turkey Sliders. The perfect blend of chopped veggies and spices make these healthy sammies a sure-fire hit.

Dessert: Set out your kids’ favorite fruits cut in chunks  and some skewers so they can have fun making their own Stacked Fruit Sticks.

Entertaining Saturday

Brunch: Bacon and Egg Brunch Burgers will satisfy even the heartiest appetites. No one will be able to resist burgers topped with bacon, hash browns, and a fried egg. Yes, please!

Dinner: Don’t wait until the end of the summer to serve your guests End-of-Summer Pork, Chicken or Veal Milanese. Fresh, crunchy veggies atop crisp breaded pork or chicken is a restaurant-worthy but affordable dish. Cook’s Note: If fresh corn hasn’t hit your grocery store yet, use thawed frozen corn in its place. 

Cocktail: Plums, cherries, basil and orange are featured in this fruity and flavorful Cherry Sangria.

Family Sunday

Brunch: Sweet ‘n Spicy Red Eye Ham Steaks with Cheese Grits and Seared Chard is a fabulous any-time meal that will definitely hold everyone over until dinner. The secret is in the ham steaks that are cooked in maple syrup and coffee – yum!

Dinner: Make a hearty pasta for Sunday supper this week. Classic Carbonara comes together in minutes and feeds a crowd.

Dessert: Treat the family to an old-fashioned classic dessert: Coconut Cake or Cupcakes.

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Rachael Ray